Back to drawing board for logo

An Arkansas school will phase out a tiger logo similar to MU’s.
Monday, May 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Bentonville High School has changed its tiger logo after a licensing company told the school that it was too similar to the tiger that MU uses.

Collegiate Licensing Co. asked for the change to protect MU’s copyright. Bentonville athletics director Lauren West said the school received a letter two months ago requesting the change.

West said the school has a new logo, and it’s still a tiger. She said it may be ready this week — and it will be copyrighted.

“It’s the very clean and modern-looking logo, but it is changed,” she said. “Right now, I’m waiting on word back from the copyright lawyers. I want to make sure that we change this logo and it’s the last time we change this logo until the style of logos changes.”

She said the new logo will be used on the court at the school’s arena and the artificial turf at the football stadium.

The uniforms, however, will not be replaced immediately, she said.

“We have a four-year uniform rotation,” she said. “We’ll just start phasing those out. We don’t have the money to fix uniforms right now, all in one year. And I think as long as were making an attempt to phase those out and we realize that we don’t want to compromise the integrity of the system that is set up with the national logo, that we’ll be OK.”

West also said that once the school chooses a new logo, it will be the responsibility of groups that create and sell Bentonville Tiger merchandise to replace their logos with the new mark.

“If they don’t change, then they’re the ones in violation of the logo infringement,” she said.

MU started using its tiger-head logo in the fall of 1999. Bentonville adopted the similar logo about three years ago.

Michael Drucker, an associate counsel at Collegiate Licensing Company, said although high schools occasionally use similar logos to those of its clients, most do so unintentionally.

“The schools advise us how they want to handle it, and we do that, and most of the times it’s a very easy solution,” he said. “I could write a cease-and-desist letter and make it very legal, but because the high school probably doesn’t know what it’s done and that it’s against the law, the school treats it as, ‘We’re going to explain to you the problem and we’re going to work with you to change it.’ ”

Linda Gilbert, program administrator at MU Licensing & Trademarks, said MU doesn’t let high schools or other businesses use its name or marks.

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